Immersive 3-Week Summer Program in Pittsburgh

Learn how high-performance building design and construction principles contribute to a more sustainable, more efficient, and healthier built environment.

Dates: June 3–21, 2024
Times: Monday–Friday, 9:00 a.m.–3:00 p.m.
Location: Franco Harris Pittsburgh Center, 1435 Bedford Ave, Pittsburgh, PA

First- and second-year university students are invited to spend three weeks in Pittsburgh for a cross-cultural educational program with students from Northern Ireland. Through a combination of lectures from high-performance building experts, hands-on activities, and site visits, students will learn the latest in high-performance building design, featuring Passive House design standards. They will better understand how these design and construction principles make buildings more sustainable, more efficient, and healthier for people and how to help tackle the built environment’s significant contribution to climate change. Upon completion of the camp, attendees will be primed for future Passive House certification. This program is a joint initiative of the Penn State Global Building Network, the Franco Harris Pittsburgh Center at Penn State, and Northern Ireland’s South West College.

Is This Program Right for You?

  • Are you a first- or second-year architecture or engineering student?
  • Are you curious about high-performance building standards and features?
  • Are you interested in exploring Pittsburgh?
  • Do you want a cultural experience with instructors and students from Northern Ireland?

Summer Program Includes:

  • In-class and hands-on instruction at the Energy Innovation Center
  • Living in and exploring Pittsburgh
  • Breakfast and lunch on program days
  • Touring local high-performance buildings
  • Preparation for future Passive House professional certification


Students will live and learn in the heart of downtown Pittsburgh, taking classes at the LEED Platinum Energy Innovation Center and touring local high-performance buildings and sites. Field trips include: Fallingwater, Kentuck Knob, Phipps Center for Sustainable Landscapes, Frick Environmental Center, Tree Pittsburgh Education Center, and more.

Breakfast and lunch will be provided as part of the program, and students will have ample time to explore all that the city has to offer. Students also have the option of living at Penn Commons, alongside students from South West College. Contact us for more details and costs.

While students are responsible for their own housing during the program, we can refer you to the option of living at Penn Commons ($565 for the month), where the students from South West College will stay while in Pittsburgh.

Program Cost and Available Fellowships

Cost: $900
Includes program fees, breakfast and lunch on class days, public transportation passes, and field trips.

Application Deadline: March 19, 2024

Six Fellowships Available (full cost will be waived)

Full fellowships will be awarded to the first six Penn State students accepted into the program.

Past Program Highlights

Cross-cultural learning experience brings students from Northern Ireland to Pittsburgh

In June 2023, 10 students from South West College in Northern Ireland spent three weeks in Pittsburgh learning about sustainable building design through the Penn State High-Performance Building Summer Program. Read more about the 2023 program 

Students bring international focus to Pittsburgh’s high-performance buildings

In 2022, students from South West College, Northern Ireland, joined Penn State students in Pittsburgh to learn best practices in energy efficient design during the High-Performance Building Summer Camp. Read more about the experience

HPB Students group picture on green roof of EIC

Instructor with a group of students inside a high performance building lobby

Students sitting inside a high performance building with an instructor

Students sitting around a table working on a project

Student Application

Application Deadline: March 19, 2024

The application deadline has passed.